Archive | March 2015

God exists

I know God exists

A car ran me over on 1/6/94 as I walked my two dogs after work, hurling me through the air until I landed in a snow-filled ditch. There, I lay unconscious and bleeding. One of my dogs, scared by the sudden disruption, ran away (neighbors later found her). The other dog lay by my side licking blood from the gash on my left cheek. Two months later, I came home from the rehab center to an uncertain world. At the age of 39, I wasn’t prepared to become disabled or unemployable. To regain lost motor and cognitive functions, various therapists worked to make me whole again. Initially, reading wasn’t possible. Blurred vision, a residual affect from traumatic brain trauma, clumped words together so pages looked like gibberish. Short-term memory loss made me forgot most of what I read. To prevent boredom, I assembled jigsaw puzzles. One afternoon as I worked on a puzzle, the inner door suddenly popped open. It’d never done that before. Ever. Then the canister that I ordered from a pet food company started to play its silly tune. Dogs were supposed to come running when they heard the words, “Snausages.” There was only one problem. I was in the living room. The canister was in the kitchen. No one was home but me and my dogs. The canister was out of their reach. So who opened it? In the three years since I had the canister, it never opened by itself. Never. What was happening? There is an afterlife and there is God. No one can dismiss what happened that day. Yes, I experienced a significant head trauma but I’ll never forget that chilly day in the spring of 1994. Someone’s spirit from my past, perhaps my father or a dear friend both of whom died recently tried to communicate with me. They knew I had a hard time. Maybe they wanted to say you’ll be OK. I don’t know. I do know what happened. The door and the canister both opened on their own. A special presence was there, one that I can’t explain. There is life after death. God exists. I survived that accident for a reason. I’m on a journey that I continue to travel on. I re-invented myself through volunteer work. I became a writer, although it hasn’t achieved my goal to become self-sufficient. Years later I discovered Islam, which brought me peace, love and friends. Maybe my life has a greater purpose I’ll discover later one day. In the meantime, I’ll never lose my faith in God. One day we’ll meet again.

I am a Muslim Woman

A funny thing happened on the way to the mosque

I am a Muslim woman. I pray five times a day. I cover my head. I attend weekly prayer services on Friday, the Muslim holy day. Other Muslims would be proud of me. Anyone would be. I’m a decent human being, kind to strangers, including animals and the environment. I smile often and laugh easily. What’s not to like? OK, I can be stubborn and opinionated especially if I see an injustice.

The Islamic lifestyle intrigued me for years. I tagged along with Muslim friends, always coughing up an excuse why I couldn’t convert. Religion wasn’t for me I’d say. I like your company though so please let me straggle along. That I felt so comfortable around Muslims both surprised and pleased me. Hijabs were cool. Would I wear one? I had to make a move but wasn’t sure how. All along, Allah guided me. I just didn’t know it. I opted for safety, pretending to be on the outside looking in.

Muslims pray five times a day, discipline I lacked. I remember the first time I heard the call to prayer from my friend Diba’s cell phone. The call to prayer sounds from the mosque in Islamic nations. Technology reminds Muslims in the Western world when it’s time to pray. I sat next to Diba as she prayed, feeling a sense of peace and calm. I prayed with Diba’s family at memorial services and during Iftar’s, the breaking of the fast during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. I read the Quran. Islam was filling an emptiness, a missing piece, yet I couldn’t quite explain what was happening inside me.

Finally, I dropped my guard and said yes, this really is for me. Who cares what others think? I knocked on the door long enough and now it finally opened ready for me to enter. I was so glad to leave behind worthless garbage stinking up my life. What a relief to be free and to say I needed Islam. It’s a community of caring people not the few who strayed from the Prophet’s teachings and engage in murderous treachery blasted all across Fox Television.

My healing started way back in 1978 when I quit drinking alcohol and smoking pot, coming full circle with my Shahada in February 2015. There was a long curve in between that brought me to this point, far too lengthy to discuss here. Maybe one day I’ll write more about it.

With guidance from my Muslim friends, I’m adjusting, learning, and figuring things out day by day. For those born into the faith, traditions come easier. Converts like me have more to learn. Memory loss and mental confusion from a serious traumatic brain injury in 1994 hampers my progress but I remain undaunted. I’m blessed with many loving, warm people rooting for me. My sisters showered me with gifts, kind words, prayers and hijabs. A woman can never have enough headscarves. Yes indeed Muslim women love style.

The tender embraces linger long after I say goodnight to my Muslim family. I hope the feelings lasts forever. I regret this circle of love hadn’t surrounded me sooner, especially as a youth. Perhaps I wouldn’t have veered in the wrong direction on the road less traveled. A book about Islam that a friend sent me says that sadness can paralyze the body. So I won’t dwell on the wounds that sliced my past. Rather, I’ll look forward to the future and enjoy the love and caring for the rest of my days.

I am still the same person I was before I became a Muslim. Be happy for me. And if you cannot, then have a good life. We were never meant to be friends. I am a Muslim woman.